The Advantages of Metal 3D Printing
Explore the growing world of metal FFF 3D printing, a cost-effective and accessible technique that utilizes innovative metal-polymer composite filament.
In Additive Manufacturing, market-bound metal is considered the fastest-growing segment. But what exactly is metal FFF 3D printing and what are the unbeatable advantages of this technique? Discover it now!
Metal FFF sees the metal powder bound together with a polymer that is then melted and extruded out of a heated print head. That part is called the green part and is not yet the finished product. It must be debound to extract the binder and then sintered in a furnace to fuse the particles together into the final product.
One of the advantages of this method compared to techniques like metal binder jetting is the accessibility and cost. Metal FFF is possible to print on low-cost desktop machines. This can save thousands of dollars in investment costs.
A 3D-printed metal part has to be debound and sintered. This can't happen at home nor are debinding stations easily accessible. Therefore Forward AM (BASF 3D Printing Solution Brand) offers the option to book debinding and sintering slots at MatterHackers.
Forward AM has developed Ultrafuse® 316L to offer high-quality metal parts and high throughput. This state-of-the-art metal filament is suitable for use with any conventional Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printer.
Ultrafuse® 316L is cost-effective, easy to process and meets the MIM industry standard for catalytic debinding and sintering.
The metal filament formulates thermoplastic binders with around 90 mass percent of highly refined metal particles. The Forward AM filament has a non-slip surface allowing it to be applied in most Bowden or direct-drive extruders. Thanks to its high flexibility, it can be fed through complex idler pulleys and multiple filament transportation systems in printers – no extra drying is required. As a filament, the metal-polymer composite comes with none of the occupational and safety hazards associated with the handling of fine metallic powders, making 3D printing of stainless-steel parts affordable, straightforward, and safe.
Following the print, the final properties of the part are then achieved through a debinding and sintering process developed by BASF, which has emerged as the industry standard. Parts printed with Ultrafuse® 316L obtain their final properties, including hardness and strength
This innovative industry-grade metal-polymer composite supports a broad range of applications, including tooling, jigs and fixtures, small series production, functional parts, prototypes, and even jewelry.
Ultrafuse® 17-4 PH is the second metal filament in Forward AM’s portfolio. It enables stainless steel parts for applications that require high hardness and mechanical strength. It is therefore ideal for Petrochemistry, Aerospace, and Automotive applications such as tooling, jigs and fixtures, and functional prototyping.
Like Ultrafuse® 316L, 17-4 PH is easy to use and an affordable 3D printing metal filament. With its good corrosion resistance and the fact that it can be additionally hardened through heat treatment, it´s perfect for industrial applications.
For the printed Parts there is a wide range of post-processing options possible.
If you want to find out how other companies work with Ultrafuse® 17-4 PH check out Forward AM’s newest Use Case with WKW about the benefits of 3D printed prototypes.
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